21 Replies Latest reply: Jan 19, 2011 3:47 PM by ranaleon Branched to a new discussion. RSS

    SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro

    Gremlin

      SlingMedia made an announcement about the upcoming iPad app. In that announcement they stated that Legacy products will not be supported including the SlingBox Pro.

       

      The SlingBox pro is supported by the current iPhone App and seems functionally equivalent to the SlingBox Solo (which is supported). So I asked the reason for not supporting the SlingBox Pro.

       

      Rather than answer my question they remove my thread. Stating that it was not appropriate to discuss unannounced products. I was asking question based on an announcement that SlingMedia made.

       

      https://community.sling.com/index.jspa

       

      All I wanted to know was the technical difference between the SlingBox Pro and the SlingBox Solo and why the iPad App will support one but not the other.

       

      SlingMedia, Feel free to remove this thread but I feel this was an appropriate question to an announcement you made.

        • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
          trevor432990

          Good question.  I have a Slingbox Pro and was thinking of getting an iPad next year and would certainly like to watch my TV on it via my Slingbox Pro but if this is not going to be supported I shall probably look at purchasing an Android tablet instead assuming that will work. Come on Slingbox let's have a reply?

            • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
              Sevenfeet

              I'm in the same boat.  I own a Slingbox Pro, first purchased (I think) in 2007.  The first mobile client I purchased for it was Windows Mobile, then iPhone.  I now have an iPad and have been wondering about the whole compatibility thing.  Now that we've gotten a statement that we'll need to upgrade out Sling hardware but not a technical explanation as to why, the only thing we can do is speculate so here goes.

               

              I went and looked up some information on an early Slingbox AV teardown that iSuppli did some time ago.  Although the report costs a lot of money, some glimpses were revealed from public sources.  Namely the chip that does all the video imaging heavy lifting is a Texas Instruments DSP chip.  That tells me a lot.  First, that while DSP chips are great for all kinds of signal processing and can be reprogrammed for all kinds of duties, it doesn't do something like H.264 encoding/decoding natively in silicon.  Which means that it may be completely inadequate a solution to implement an H.264 software encoding solution with this DSP with any resolution higher than 320x240 @ 15 fps.

               

              Now the Slingbox Pro can do better resolution, but it may be hobbled by similar DSP hardware constraints.  I don't know what format that PC and Mac clients are getting their video from the Slingbox, but it's safe to say that they have far more raw horsepower at their disposal with any late model Intel processor versus an Apple A4 chip meant for low power operation.  These days, it's pretty easy to get H.264 encoding/decoding in silicon for probably similar dollars to what Sling paid for the TI DSP chip and I suspect the newer Slingbox models have this already.

               

              Considering the hardware involved, I'm actually impressed that Sling has been able to do what they have been doing with the older hardware.  And it's given me 3+ good years of service.  I'm a little wary though of going out and getting a Slingbox Pro-HD to replace the old Pro.  The Pro-HD is still primarily an analog HD product with the external dongle of the previous Pro model built in.  Today's new media devices are going toward HDMI...in some cases, HDMI only.  The Pro-HD can handle three inputs but only one of them being HD and component HD at that.  If I got a new AppleTV to hook up to a Pro-HD, I'd be out of luck.  I have to wonder if Sling has a newer model with more up to date ports waiting in the wings.

                • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                  Gremlin

                  Sevenfeet, Your explanation makes a lot of sense. I only wish SlingMedia would say if this is the problem or something else is. Instead they rather hide behind a wall of silence. I really don't care anymore (TV is not all that riveting these days). I was willing the shelve out $30 for an iPad App but I won't pay for a whole new device.

                    • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                      Sevenfeet

                      I think the reason why Sling hasn't given a technical explanation is that they probably consider everything about the hardware in a Slingbox to be proprietary information.  The original Slingbox was a pretty unique product when it first appeared but there wasn't anything about it that another company couldn't have done.  But they put all the parts together and centered it around a functional Windows client.  Combine that with their own servers to act as a directory service at no additional cost to the consumer, and that's the Sling experience.

                       

                      Now, what's in the older Slingboxes is probably not quite what's in the latest models.  But the basic premise is the same and I think they don't want to tip the hands of competitors in any way.  And yes, there are competitors now.  The Slingbox is an appliance, not a PC which is sold based on chip types and specs.  Apple would do it pretty much the same way...."No, it can't do that.  No more questions."

                       

                      So that leaves us to speculate and speaking of speculation, I had discussed about being hesitant to buy an existing Slingbox Pro-HD since it doesn't do HDMI.  I thought a bit more about what it would take to do such a product and it basically comes down to handling an HDMI passthrough situation which keeps the signal headed to your receiver and/or your TV while taking the signal, scaling it, compressing it to H.264 and sending it on the Internet.  The problem these days is actually not a technical one (cost is not in the discussion).  The issue is a legal one.  One of the big deals about HDMI w/HDCP is that Hollywood doesn't want the signal patch compromised and they hate the fact that analog HD even exists.  The technology exists today to do this.  Some home theater scalers do this now.  The big deal is sending the signal over the internet.  If a Slingbox could send a 1080p signal anywhere, could it be handled securely or could be it hijacked and stored (and later copied)?

                       

                      One thing for sure....the long term future of a company like Sling is to adopt digital connectors like HDMI.  The problem (as always) will be content creators, much like at the beginning of the company.  It's nice that Sling is owned by Dish who has much deeper pockets.  But it's no guarantee that Sling won't be eventually shut out when analog connectors fade from view in the coming years.

                    • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                      rplenty

                      I have a slingbox pro and will not buy a Slingbox pro HD @250+ dollars just for better resolution on the ipad.  That said I am very interested in knowing if they will provide an update of the current slingbox mobile software for those of us using it on an ipad.  While the picture is OK on the current version (not great but OK) the controls are made for the iphone and are clumsy on the ipad with its bigger screen.  Assuming they updated the controls on the new version I would like to see them post the new version's controls to the current mobile version as an option so it would be easier to control on the ipad. In fact the controls on the PC version were perfect and it seems that using those on the ipad would be ideal.

                    • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                      cjwhite

                      I have had an iPad since they came out and have used the iphone app to watch it from my Slingbox Pro.  I hate to invest in another Slingbox that is not equipped with HDMI.  I use a mix of Apple and Mac computers and want to make sure it will be able to be used with everything for a few years like the Slingbox Pro had done.

                      • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                        StryderJin

                        Hello,

                         

                            Even though I don't work for Sling, I believe I can answer this question. The problem comes from the codec’s each device use. Apple products use mpeg4 for video but older generation sling boxes use WMV. The newer solo and pro-hd can stream both "legacy" WMV and mpeg4, however the mpeg4 provides superior picture quality.

                         

                        Here in lies the problem. The reason for the subpar video on the iphone is sling had to write a software decoder for WMV in order to support older devices. This causes the cpu in the phone to work harder than if it were using the built in mpeg4 codec. Because of cpu constraints the resolution and frame rate are locked at their current levels.

                         

                           I'm assuming that they are not willing to make this sacrifice for the ipad version as it will look absolutely horrible on the 9" screen. That said an update needs to be issued for the iphone as well to improve video quality. It's absolutely terrible.

                          • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                            Sevenfeet

                            Well that makes sense.  320x240 resolution is all my Slingbox Pro will deal with in slinging to an iOS device despite the fact that it can do 640x480 native.  But the big problem for me is whether to get the Pro-HD as is or wait for the next product, whenever that might be (hard to know Sling's product cycles).  As much as I'd love to see a device that handles HDMI natively, the copyright issues I wrote about earlier is a big red flag for me with any kind of product like that.  I do believe Sling has to do it to survive long term.  But any product like that has to come with an iron-clad legal strategy.

                        • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                          Matman

                          If I have to buy another app AND a new Slingbox for my iPad, I'm done with Sling and off to Hava.

                          • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                            seveshaw1

                            Does anyone know if the new iPad app will work with the dish network 922 DVR with built in sling technology?

                              • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                                Gremlin

                                Don't buy the Sling Media App; use dishNetworks app and watch TV on your iPad for free. DishNetworks Universal app now  support iPad TV playback. It works with the VIP 922, VIP 722 with adapter and the SlingBox Pro. I have a SlingBox and can watch TV on my iPad with dishNetwork's app. This will not help people who are not dishNetwork customers but I heard FIOS is working on a similar app, perhaps others will follow.

                              • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                                bookooc

                                The question of whether to update from a slingbox pro to a newer model is mute. Evenutually the Slingbox pro will fail just like the two I have had fail. The network port l die and you will be Sh** out of luck, since Slingmedia doesn't give a rats *** about thier customers.

                                This company doesn't care about customers. Sorry, I don't think $300 for 3 years use is a good value, considering it was used about 25 hours a year, if that.

                                Junk.

                                • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                                  IXXIGolfer

                                  Am very disappointed the iPAD APP does not support my Slingbox Pro and I was not made aware of that problem until AFTER I purchased the APP.  A required SlingBox upgrade to the newer versions for $200+ makes no sense - Slingbox HAS NOT SHOWN any concern for current customers.  The $50 rebate is almost insulting.  ALSO, there is no way to get back the $30.  

                                  • Re: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad will not support the SlingBox Pro
                                    Apprentice

                                    Hi, Gremlin and all.

                                     

                                    The main reason is that the Slingbox SOLO and the Slingbox PRO-HD have the necessary "horsepower" to utilize the latest streaming technologies which Apple uses for it's devices using iOS 4.2.

                                     

                                    The older Slingbox hardware (Classic, TUNER, AV and PRO) will not work with this newer streaming technology.

                                     

                                    Finally, it is clearly stated on our website that the iPad application will only work if you have the Slingbox SOLO and the Slingbox PRO HD.

                                     

                                    Requirements